We at Geek & Sundry love roleplaying games. Halloween is the perfect time to get into a new, horror-filled one in anticipation for our new RPG show Sagas of Sundry: Madness, premiering this Thursday, October 26 exclusively on Alpha. If you want to try your hand at a new terrifying setting for your RPG adventures, we definitely have a few suggestions.
Do you feel it? Something is coming. From the depths of the sewers, balloon in hand. From the astral worlds that man cannot fully comprehend. From under your bed, even! That something is Halloween, the season of the spook, and it’s hard to not want to wrap yourself up in stories of monsters and beasties of all sorts. Wouldn’t you like to bring that horror to your game table, though? Perhaps relive your favorite moment from a classic horror movie, or perhaps BE the monster yourself? We found all of that – and more – in these four RPGs guaranteed to scare the pants off of you this Halloween season.
Call of Cthulhu
One of the oldest horror games, there’s an old adage in the gaming community: A good game of Call of Cthulhu ends with you dead. Set in the world created by pulp writers such as H.P. Lovecraft, Call of Cthulhu by Chaosium has players exploring places mankind was not meant to go. You might be reanimating corpses, or exploring secret cults, or finding out that you’re only days away from transforming into a malformed fish person. If movies like The Thing, Prince Of Darkness, or The Void get under your skin, this is definitely the game for you. Wes Otis, creator of Plate Mail Games, had this to say about Call of Cthulhu: “Call of Cthulhu to me is the best way to find out how horrible your friends are. Watch how they treat each other in stressful situations and you’ll know who to have on your zombie apocalypse team.” Well, isn’t that a comforting thought…
Don’t Rest Your Head
Nightmares and dreamscapes have haunted mankind since we began to have abstract thought, and no game encompasses that better than Evil Hat’s Don’t Rest Your Head. Playing a superpowered insomniac (no, really) you find yourself in The Mad City, a place where all lost things end up and all nightmares are very real and very dangerous. A twisted horror fantasy that takes cues from Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, Dark City, and A Nightmare On Elm Street, this game allows you to explore the darkest of dreams with a bizarre multi-colored d6 system that I have never seen used in any other game. The scariest part? The DM only rolls one thing against players: pain.
The scariest thing is powerlessness: knowing that whatever you’re dealing with is much bigger, much scarier, much more powerful than you and knowing that you are very, very outmatched. That’s what Little Fears brings to the table: The game where you play a child fighting against monsters both literal and figurative, armed with very little but faith in yourself as you go up against the baddies and monsters of Closetland. As your characters are aged between 6 and 13, this is a great game if you’re a fan of cult favorites such as Monster Squad, The Gate, or the 90s classic Goosebumps. A really cool part of the game’s lore is that people over 14 can’t see the monsters around them, but can be manipulated by them… Hm… How old are you, again?
Beast the Primordial
The latest game from Onyx Path/White Wolf in the long-running Chronicles Of Darkness series, this game asks a very important question: What makes a monster? A visage so terrible it could turn your hair gray? A personal knowledge of what man fears – theoretically and personally? Like all games in the Chronicles of Darkness, you play a monster, but as opposed to being the Werewolf or the Vampire, you’re what OTHER monsters are afraid of. Beast will unsettle and shake you to your core – and probably make for a great game night – if you ever wanted to try your hand at being Pennywise from Stephen King’s IT or your favorite Creepypasta creature, be it Mr. Widemouth or Slenderman. Just watch out, because a Beast can look just like anyone when they’re not hunting for fresh prey. Sweet dreams!
Want more horror RPGs?
- Read about the Lovecraftian mystery in D&D’s Volo’s Guide to Monsters.
- Learn how to spook-ify your tabletop with lessons taken from Sagas of Sundry.
- Delve into a world of madness with Geek & Sundry’s show Saga’s of Sundry: Madness!
Featured Image Credit: Onyx Path/White Wolf
Image Credits: Onyx Path, Flames Rising, Evil Hat Productions, Chaosium